BECTU condemns Siemens proposal

BECTU believes that sensitive BBC data may be placed at risk if Siemens’ off-shoring plans go ahead.

“BECTU has a long track record of opposing plans to off-shore our members’ jobs.”

At a meeting with BECTU on 30 September 2008, Siemens announced a proposal to off-shore 50 jobs to India.

The staff, employed in Server Operations on the BBC contract, are currently based in London but the intention is to move all of the work abroad in around six months time.

BECTU believes that this is in breach of undertakings given at the time of the sale of BBC Technology to Siemens that there would be no off-shoring without the explicit agreement of the BBC. Siemens claims that this only applies to "customer facing" areas.

Union Official Anna Murray said "BECTU has a long track record of opposing plans to off-shore our members’ jobs. We will intend to do everything we can to protect our members’ interests."

BECTU believes that the move exposes the BBC to the possible loss of sensitive data. Union members working in the area have said that many of the 1000 servers affected are storing broadcast critical information. The remainder contain BBC data including departmental and programme data. Siemens were unable to confirm whether the BBC had fully understood the implications of the off-shoring proposal and the union intends to raise the issue separately with the BBC.

BECTU will be opposing the move and expects to meet regularly with Siemens to try and understand the reason for the proposal.

A key target is to try and protect those union members who do not wish to follow the work off-shore. In response to union questions Siemens confirmed that any one who moved to Siemens India would retain their existing ex-BBC terms and conditions and crucially their final salary pension but it seems unlikely that members will want to uproot themselves and their families at the present time.

Wednesday 1 October 2008